Pathways through Lent, Uncategorized

Wednesday in the First Week of Lent

Miller and I recently had the opportunity for a mid-winter break on the wonderful Caribbean island of Barbados with several friends. While there were many unforgettable experiences during this trip, there are two special memories from this trip; each showed people giving thanks to the abundance of blessings that have been bestowed upon them.

As we were all arriving at different times, I found myself in the situation of flying from Miami to Barbados by myself, and after clearing immigration and customs, I took a taxi to Fitts Village in St. James Parish where we were to stay for the next four days I had last visited Barbados some 20 years ago, and as we approached the beautiful island bordered by light blue seas, I wondered: what changes might I find, and what would remain the same with the wonderful and welcoming people that I remembered from my last visit.

On Sunday, a friend and I walked to a local grocery store that I had passed on the way in. About halfway there, I heard some beautiful music but had no clue what it was. It was coming from a little concrete-block church, The New Testament Church of God. I was fascinated with the music and stopped to listen for 10 minutes or so. Observing the people in the church with tambourines and other instruments I could not identify, I was witness to a wonderful congregation celebrating their love and spirit for all the blessings of this life in worship.

Later that same day, we went to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Mount Steadfast, to pick up a lady also staying at our villa so we could all tour St. Nicholas Abbey that afternoon. St. Francis church is located in an old movie theater that was given to the Parish when the former owner of the structure died. When we arrived at the church, most of its members were having a “barbecue” on a lawn behind the church with a view overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The view was absolutely breathtaking, but? the warm, outgoing reception we received was overwhelming. Everyone insisted that we stay and join them for lunch. Visiting with various members of the Parish, it became abundantly clear that they, like us, come from many stations and ambitions in life, but all love the relationships that they have among themselves and with newcomers.

Stephen O’Shields

Appointed readings for today: Jonah 3:1-10, Psalm 51:11-18, Luke 11:29-32

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